Essay Book Notebook : Catch 22

Essay Book Notebook : Catch 22

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Novel Notebook: Catch 22
1. Setting/ Matter: In the novel Catch 22, the main action takes place on the island of Pianosa near France where a squadron of men are trained to fly missions and bomb cities during World War II. Joseph Heller wrote the story to parallel his time serving as a flight pilot on the island Corsica. The matter is exactly the same as the setting, because the book is set in World War II and is also commenting on the nature of war in World War II. The scenery at Pianosa is described as “[a] shallow, dull colored forest,” (Heller 17) which also symbolizes the relatively boring lives of the military men. The job of the soldiers is to complete the same tasks each day, which is very repetitive. This is shown through the island’s setting because the living quarters and the arrangement of camp each day is the same. The island being surrounded by water creates an isolated environment where all of the characters are forced to interact because the only way off of the island is flying missions. When flying, members of the squadron get their only glimpses at the outside world, which can in certain cases represent death, as flying missions is very dangerous. Since the men can’t simply go home, they remain stuck on the island. How does the environment at Pianosa illustrate the trapped feelings of the men in the squadron?
2. Plot: An important section of the book is when Yossarian decides he will not fly any more missions and begins to stand up to his military superiors. The power the military officials have over the drafted men is substantial, and this causes a wall of superiority that the regular military men cannot get past. When Yossarian decides he is done and will not fly anymore missions, some of his squadron members’ m...


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...to keep functioning. The mood of the book is typically grim, because Yossarian is often focused on death and many of his comrades die. Heller in this way is commenting on how death is inevitable and that especially in the military, death doesn’t mean anything. We see this through when Doc Daneeka “dies” and when the man in white in the hospital dies and a new one is brought in. During war, death is not uncommon, and in the novel death helps set the tone of the story. How does each death in Catch 22 impact the meaning of the novel?

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